When Prince Paris of Troy abducts Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, the Greeks' course of action is obvious - sue him!

Paris of Troy came in secret to Sparta and abducted Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. When her husband, King Menelaus, learned of the crime, he did what any red-blooded Achaean warrior would: he filed a lawsuit.

Mighty and dreadful were the ranks of his lawyers, for he ransacked all the vast treasuries of golden Sparta for attorneys' fees. To lead these hosts, he called upon great Agamemnon, son of Atreus, prince of the Bar Association of all Greece. So heavy was his briefcase that ten normal men could not lift it; so strong his glasses that they struck lesser men blind. Behind him marched the ten thousand lawyers of Mycenae, intelligent men all, each bearing gold-plated pens and wallets of real leather.

From Ithaka came wily Odysseus the divorce lawyer, who read law briefs as effortlessly as other men read newspapers. Close behind followed Diomedes, master of the closing argument, and mighty Ajax, whose fees could bankrupt entire villages. Next there arrived ancient Nestor and the lawyers of Pylos, clad in Arcadian polyester and fat with take-out meals.

Last of all came god-like Achilles, son of Thetis the sea-nymph. Proudly he came, clad in the custom-tailored suit fashioned by Hephaestus, craftsman of the gods, and upon his tie were painted scenes from the all great court cases of history. Here one could see Plessy debating Fergusen, and there, surrounded by a chorus of monkeys, Clarence Darrow gave his closing argument against William Jennings Bryan. Upon its bottom was the fearsome face of Rhadamanthus, judge of the Underworld, glaring balefully at the wincing image of O.J. Simpson.

By his side came his junior partner, Patroclus. Never before in judicial history have two lawyers been as inseparable as Achilles and Patroclus, nor shall ever they be again. Whenever Achilles argued a case, there sat Patroclus in the audience box, cheering him on, and whenever Patroclus argued a case, Achilles would stay up long into the night, helping him practice and prepare. As inseparable were they as thunder and lightning, as fire and smoke, as night and darkness.

When Priam, King of Troy, learned of the host gathered under the banners of Agamemnon, he turned pale with fear. Well he knew of the rage of Menelaus, of the compensatory damages he would demand, and of the additional punitive damages he would exact. Mighty was the wealth of Troy, jewels and coronets fashioned by gods and heroes, but all to naught would it come if Agamemnon's attorneys won their suit. And he begged of his son Paris that he return Helen to Menelaus, and agree to settle the matter out of court, lest the mighty walls of Troy be torn down and sold for scrap to pay for the Spartan king's emotional distress.

In that hour, almost did Paris turn away from the lawsuit, and petition for a pre-trial settlement. But Pallas Athena, whose bore a grudge ancient and implacable against Troy, hardened his heart, and a great resolve grew inside him to let the suit go to trial. And so he called upon all of the mighty attorneys of Ilium to build a case for the defense.

First he hired goddess-born Aeneas, son of Aphrodite, who could make juries swoon merely by winking at them, and Helenus the oracle, who knew what witnesses would say before they were even called to the stand. Penthesilea he hired, the Amazon lawyer who had cut off her left breast in order to better hold a briefcase, and Memnon, from deepest Ethiopia, an expert in civil rights suits. And to lead the defense team, he hired mighty Hector, driver of sports cars, whose Ferrari was as red as the blood of the rams sacrificed on the heights of Mount Ida, and faster than swift-winged Zephyrus.

When Agamemnon heard the news that Paris had hired mighty Hector's law firm, he knew that there would be no out-of-court settlement. So he rented from the men of Mycenae a thousand great corporate jets, to fly over the Aegean and bring his hosts to Troy. After many trials the hosts of the Achaeans at last reached the airport of Ilium, and from there headed to the great courtroom that stood by the banks of the Simois. Like to the courtrooms of Olympus it stood, its great stone blocks hewed by Heracles in days of old. Tall and strait were its fluted columns, like oaks as they rustle in the sacred groves of Dodona, and as comfy were its seats as the beds of the sea-nymphs in the grottos of Amphitrite. When a lawyer spoke, the microphones magnified his voice to sound like the bellowing of bulls, and when he was silent, a terrible hush would descend, like the quietude of the halls of Hades.

For a lawsuit of such import, Minos himself had come as judge. Two great Cyclopes had arisen from Tartarus as bailiffs, and the Fates, ever spinning their cloth, were the court clerks. One of the Cyclopes handed Minos his gavel, a thunderbolt fashioned in the smithies of Hephaestus, and so the trial began.

When Agamemnon arose to speak, so dreadful was his opening argument that the greater part of the Trojans turned to flee, as if their city had already been confiscated. So when Poseidon, the Maker of Earthquakes, strikes his trident into the deep; fish and seals flee in terror, and the ground itself shakes like a wounded thing; not otherwise did the opening arguments of Agamemnon shake the courtroom of Ilium. And when he had finished, the jury all stood as one man, ready and willing to pronounce Paris guilty of wrongful abduction.

But then Hector, driver of sports cars, rose to speak. And as he spoke, he accused the Achaeans of wasting the time of the courtroom, so obviously frivolous was their suit. The everlasting love between Helen and Paris he referenced, and the decision of Aphrodite, goddess of love, that Paris should have the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife. Even as he spoke, the jury conferred, deciding as one man that Paris was utterly innocent, that the Danaeans should not only return home to their shores but that the gold of Agamemnon should pay Paris' attorneys' fees, so frivolous his lawsuit. And when he had finished this, next he attacked the Achaeans' corporate jets, demanding to know whether they had the proper clearances to land in Trojan airspace, whether their pilots were properly trained, and more than all these, he attacked their safety certification. Upon hearing this, the Achaeans quaked with fear, knowing that at any moment their jets might be confiscated and themselves stranded in Troy without hope of return.

But before Minos could order the Greek jets confiscated, Achilles rose to speak. Much did the attorneys of Greece and Troy marvel at his suit, crafted by the gods, and at his tie, decorated as it was with the great court cases of history. But even more marvelled they at his savage objections, his terrifying points of order, his encyclopaedic knowledge of airline safety regulations. And with each section of the airline safety code he explained, Patroclus egged him on, until the Trojans fled the courtroom in fear, until sunset was upon them, and so ended the first day of the trial.

And in the Four Seasons' hotel, where the Greeks had made their camp, there was much rejoicing, and downing of great quantities of wine and spirits. But Calchas, the oracle, grew wary, and begged that the party might end and the Greeks get some rest for the days that were to come. Still further they partied, until, even at the stroke of midnight, Agamemnon drunk with wine and victory started making out with Briseis, secretary to Achilles.

Then god-like Achilles waxed great in anger, and demanded an apology from Agamemnon. But Agamemnon, angry as he was at being upstaged by Achilles in the deliberations of the day, refused. And at that point, Achilles swore a mighty oath - that until Agamemnon gave him control of the prosecutorial team, he should argue no more, but sit in his room at the Four Seasons skulking and watching Pay-Per-View movies.

As the next day dawned, the motorcade of the rented cars of the Greek attorneys drove to the courtroom with heavy hearts. But the Trojans, seeing that their foe had lost its champion, redoubled their efforts. Goddess-born Aeneas called Aphrodite to the stand and established that she had given Paris permission to carry Helen away. Then swarthy Memnon played the race card, asking whether Paris was being persecuted for his Trojan ancestry, and Penthesilia established a history of marital strife between Menelaus and Helen. And far-shooting Apollo himself blessed the Trojans, so that each of their objections hit true, and he set a veil of confusion upon the Greek cross-examiners, whose words seemed like mere babble, and whose points the jury missed entirely.

As dusk fell, the Greeks stood on the verge of being kicked out of Troy entirely. They returned to their camp at the Four Seasons full of fear, and immediately Agamemnon rented out the conference room and held a meeting with wily Odysseus. The prince of Ithaca begged him to allow Achilles to lead the prosecution, but Agamemnon's heart was hard, and three times he placed a curse upon the son of Peleus, and upon the day he ever entered law school. Then Odysseus knew he would have to develop a plan on his own.

And so Odysseus dressed Patroclus up in the god-tailored suit of Achilles, and draped around him the tie of Achilles, and handed unto him business cards saying "Achilles, son of Peleus, Attorney at Law". And all to whom he gave these business cards believed him to be Achilles, and so the Trojan lawyers fled from the courtroom as he arrived. Inspired, Patroclus made many incisive points, and all the members of the jury and the audience marvelled at the might and the wisdom of Achilles.

But Hector alone was unfazed, and he stood and countered all of Patroclus' arguments. Then he attacked Patroclus himself, impugning his honor, revealing that he had lied about his identity to the court, demanding that he be censured, no, cited for contempt of court! Zeus, king of gods and men, stood behind Hector and guided his words, and when he had finished speaking, Judge Minos decreed that it should so be, and Patroclus was hauled off to jail for contempt of court. Much was the weeping in the law firms of Skyros that day, and many the Myrmidons whose careers ended in disgrace.

Back in Troy, Hector was filled with dread, for he knew that Achilles would not let the incarceration of his junior partner pass. That night he had a vision that he was to die during the next day's procedures. He shared it with his wife, the beautiful Andromache, who merely laughed; for was he not Hector, the greatest lawyer in all Ilium? But seeing his face, she soon grew grave, and he made her promise that, should he perish, she was raise their child Astyanax to work hard so he might one day get into one of the great law schools and succeed him in his business. Having exacted this vow from his wife, he returned that morning to the court in his red Ferrari.

Also to the court drove Achilles, his rented black Porsche spewing a rain of sparks as his drive for vengeance spurred him forwards. That day, Achilles was unstoppable. He called as a character witness the nymph Oenone, who spoke of Paris' hard-hearted betrayal of her love. When the judge called for cross-examination, the Trojans cowered, none willing to approach the witness stand for fear of Achilles' wrath. At last, Hector arose and began to debate Achilles. Faster and faster their debate grew. Just as Hermes, winged messenger of the gods, flies from Olympus to Earth in the blink of an eye, not otherwise was the speed of these two lawyers as they debated Oenone's testimony. High above them, Zeus balanced their lives on a scale, and hung his head in sorrow as Achilles came out the victor. Just as the Trojan champion objected to the last of Pelides' points, Hector son of Priam suffered a stress-induced heart attack and fell to the ground, dead, just as falls the oak during a mighty thunderstorm.

In the midst of the Cyclopes' vain demands for order, great fighting broke out between the Greeks and Trojans for the body of Hector. Many laws were cited, and in vain did the Greeks and Trojans shout the virtues of their respective morgues and coroners. But at last the victory went to dreadful Achilles, whose white-hot rage had not yet cooled, and the son of Peleus tied it to the back of his Porsche. Thrice round the courthouse of Troy Achilles drove the carcass of mighty Hector, dragging it along the asphalt, until at last he tired of this, and yielded it to Priam, king of Troy.

The Trojans petitioned Minos for a recess of three days to celebrate Hector's funeral games; this the judge granted with a heavy heart. For three days there were mock trials, and debates, and speaking contests, and trivia bowls, until at last Hector's body was burned on a mighty funeral pyre, and his law firm ceremonially removed his name from their business cards. Thus perished Hector, driver of sports cars.